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Eczema Treatment: Over the Counter or Need a Dermatologist?

If you are suffering from eczema, you may be wondering if it is something you can treat at home or if you need to call your dermatologist. While there are eczema treatments readily available at your local supermarket or pharmacy, some cases of eczema are stubborn and warrant a visit to a dermatologist.   A few changes at home coupled with some over-the-counter (OTC) products may provide the relief you are looking for and save you a trip.  However, there are times when those products simply are not working or relieving you of the symptoms of eczema.

Here are some treatments and tips that you can try at home, before visiting a dermatologist.

  • Moisturize: Eczema affects the skin barrier that results in dry, itchy skin.  Moisturizers come in three different forms: ointments, creams, and lotions.  Ointments are thick and greasy while lotions have predominately more water in them.  Creams are the middle ground.  Going to your local drug store or supermarket will yield a variety of options that fall into one of these three categories. There are “less greasy” options available as well at different price points.
  • Change the items you put on your skin. Laundry detergents, hand soap, shampoos, body, and dish soap all contain chemicals that may be irritating to your skin and cause a flare-up of eczema. If you notice itching all over your body, try changing your laundry detergent or fabric softener. It may be difficult to discover which products are irritating, but through the process of elimination, you should be able to narrow down the products that are causing your skin to itch.
  • Hydrocortisone: Over-the-counter hydrocortisone is available in topical forms as a skin cream. These OTC products have a mild steroid in it that will help in reducing your itching, scratching, and irritation of your skin. In seven days, if it has not gotten better, call one of our dermatologists.

As with any medication or products, should you develop an allergic reaction seek medical treatment promptly and discontinue using that product.

If you have made changes at home and your eczema is not clearing up, it is time to call a dermatologist.  Our staff at The Dermatology Center of Indiana will help guide you through a treatment course.   Our dermatologists may recommend a different approach to treatment than what you have tried at home.  Oral medications, ultraviolet light therapy, or anti-histamines may be what you need for relief.

Contact one of our offices today to get scheduled with one of our dermatologists.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.